The Other McCain

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Too Tall or Too Black? ‘Intersectionality’ in Missouri Harassment Lawsuit

Posted on | December 28, 2018 | 1 Comment

Jeremy Rowles (left) was accused of harassment by Annalise Breaux (right).

The increasingly weird world of Title IX enforcement:

An official at Mizzou indicated during a deposition that a male student who was physically larger than the female student he asked out may have violated the school’s Title IX policy because his physical size gave him “power over her.” . . .
When a Mizzou official was questioned regarding a case where a black male Ph.D. candidate at the school asked out a white female fitness trainer, she bizarrely suggested that the fact that the male student was larger than the female student gave him “power over her” and violated school policy. . . .
The male student, whom The Daily Wire will refer to as John Doe, asked out the female fitness instructor, who will be identified as Jane Roe. She said she was busy but discussed with him possibly going out later that month. Two days later, she told him to “stop making romantic advances toward her,” according to John’s lawsuit against Mizzou. Despite not wanting to date him, Jane asked John to keep taking her to dance classes.
John did this, and later asked Jane to recommend some YouTube videos to help him improve his dancing. She suggested private lessons but told him she didn’t teach privately. She then, according to John’s lawsuit, avoided him for the next week.
On October 14, 2016, John wrote Jane a three-page letter “apologizing for being awkward around her, expressing sincere feelings for her, and asking [her] what if anything she wanted from Plaintiff,” his lawsuit said.
Cathy Scroggs, who was Mizzou’s Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs when the incident involving John and Jane occurred, was asked during a recent deposition if the accusation against John satisfied the school’s policy for sexual misconduct regarding one having “power or authority” over another. Scroggs responded, “I think he was perceived as having power over her.”
She was further questioned as to the “nature of [John’s] power over her.” The interviewer asked if it was just John’s “size” that contributed to that “power.”
Scroggs responded: “His physical size.” . . .

(Hat-tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.) I’m not sure why Ashe Schow used these “John Doe/Jane Roe” pseudonyms in her article, since the names of Jeremy Rowles and Annalise Breaux are matters of public record, included in the court document that adds interesting details:

Plaintiff Jeremy Rowles (“Rowles”) is an African-American man and a former Ph.D. candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Missouri (“University”). In the fall of 2015, he first encountered Annalise Breaux (“Breaux”) at the Kaldi’s Coffee House where she worked. His order did not come out right, so Breaux apologized to him and gave him a token for a free drink.
The following spring, Breaux began teaching dance fitness classes and the University’s Student Recreation Center (“Rec. Center”). Rowles started attending Breaux’ dance classes, after which their interactions became more personal, and the two spoke to one another more often. Breaux thought Rowles was friendly, and she did not interpret his behavior or comments as flirtatious because she thought he was gay.
Then, on April 12, 2016, Rowles asked Breaux out on a date after their dance class. Breaux felt extremely uncomfortable and told him she was “too busy this week.” Over the next week, Rowles sent Breaux several Facebook messages, which became more frequent and increasingly romantic in nature.

Well, this is practically a romantic comedy script: Boy meets coffee shop barista, she gets his order wrong, he enrolls in her dance class and tries to flirt with her but — plot twist! — she thinks he’s gay! Then the boy asks the girl on a date and sends her “romantic” Facebook messages and, next thing you know, girl accuses boy of harassment. However, he’s African-American so he might be a victim of racial discrimination, which in the modern calculus of “social justice” could be enough to cancel out his “male privilege,” and Act Three is the courtroom drama where the campus Title IX enforcer is asked to explain the rules — a scene sure to become a comedy classic. In the Hollywood version, the story would end with a wedding scene between them, as the girl’s racist relatives admit that “love conquers all.” Also, maybe the guy’s best friend (who is secretly gay and had a crush on him) finally comes out of the closet.

What has happened — we aren’t supposed to notice this, let alone lament it — is that we have abandoned the social norms by which courtship was once regulated. In the 21st century, we are expected to celebrate as “progress” the destruction of these norms, because American society circa 1950 was controlled by the prejudicial forces of racism, sexism and homophobia. Thus, in the name of “progress,” “diversity,” “inclusion” and “social justice,” young people find themselves attempting to negotiate relationships in a Hobbesian nightmare (“Bellum omnium contra omnes”) of social anarchy, where the rules are uncertain and you never know if you’ve broken the rules until somebody sues you, gets you fired from your job or calls the police. You’ll be condemned as a bigot if you express concern about the dangers of this social anarchy.

In a sense, both Jeremy Rowles and Annalise Breaux are victims of “progress.” The ideological crusade for “social justice” is justified in the name of protecting us from oppression, but what happens to those who find themselves accused of being oppressors? You see that the Title IX regime on university campuses, allegedly intended to protect women’s right to “equality” in higher education, has a way of turning student romance into a political battlefield. In the old days, a college girl who was the object of unwanted “romantic advances” would have enlisted the assistance of a male protector — her boyfriend, perhaps, or her brother — who would have warned the rejected suitor to leave her alone, or else. This sort of old-fashioned enforcement of social norms, of course, is nowadays prohibited by the same ideological regime that subjected Jeremy Rowles to the Kafka-esque ordeal of a “harassment” complaint. But while no young man would enjoy being threatened with a punch in the nose, I don’t think being targeted by the Title IX enforcement machinery is an improvement over the old-fashioned way.



One Response to “Too Tall or Too Black? ‘Intersectionality’ in Missouri Harassment Lawsuit”

  1. Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup » Pirate's Cove
    December 30th, 2018 @ 10:20 am

    […] The Other McCain covers the lunacy of intersectionality on campus […]